Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Sunday, July 12, 2009

Posting every day isn't so hard; it just takes away the time allotted for excessive tweeting.  I hold myself to a very low standard. The funny thing is that even with writing to my very low standard, my posts end up sounding like every other post I ever wrote. What does that say about my blogging ability? Don't tell me.

Sounds like my writerly guilt is not unlike that of any other writer. Maybe we're wired to feel guilty from the beginning, because of those bastards who set their low-end production at ten pages a day and crow it to the world. The more average producers, and those on the slow side, talk less about how much they've done and more about what they've done, all the while feeling inferior to their steam-rolling counterparts.

It's bothered me for a while that there's not a good equivilent for measuring revision progress, which is where (for me) the time bloat comes.

We should remember that pondering has a place in writing, yet we assign no value to it. If you sit for an hour letting your thoughts wander through your book and never look at the page, have you not been working? I bet you don't feel like you worked. Because our legitimacy as writers is tied to the one thing we can definitively measure: words per day. Which happens to be the least important part.

I actually write more when I'm not keeping track. When I look back at my days work and can say I unraveled a knot in my story, that's when I get the most satisfaction. I'm going to work to remove a word count goal from my consciousness. Will you join me? (Those ten page a day bastards probably won't.)

Did you know there's a website dedicated to slowing down? Here's an article to make the slow writers feel fine about being slow: Join the Slow Writing Movement!

{ 3 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. I'll join you! Hell, I'll set the PACE for slow writing! I'm good at that. And those ten-page-a-day-bastards can rot.

    You know, I think measuring revision is something you shouldn't do as a writer. I know for me I set pretty unreasonable goals and then feel like a failure when I don't hit them. At the same time, I feel like a success just for getting any of it done.

    So yeah, I'm in with the slow writing thing. Definitely.

  2. I will absolutely join you in removing word count goals from my consciousness!

    Seriously, writers often forget, I believe, that dreaming/thinking/mind-wandering aspect of working. How can you quantify "being creative"? You can't, but that's the backbone of being a writer.

    Perhaps - if you really need to have a goal - set a time one. Say, 2 hours a day. Or 1, or 3 - doesn't matter. You may get 10 words in that time, or 10 pages - doesn't matter. What's important is that you dedicated time to your craft. If you spend it all dreaming up characters or thinking up names or plots or researching places - it's all good. :)

  3. I only count words in November. When I'm editing, I count pages. Word count is useless to me when editing. I try to set a goal before I sit down to work--get through a challenging scene or edit ten pages of typos--and feel half way good if I manage that. (But only ever half way good)


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